Apple & Adobe – a new era?



Apple responds to Adobe’s response…

In order for Apple to control their own destiny, and prevent laggards like Adobe from holding them to ransom, Apple recently changed the iPhone Developer Program’s small print, to specifically prevent anyone from using any other development platform other than Apple’s.

Adobe being Adobe, is not happy. Mike Chambers, Principal Product Manager for developer relations for the Flash Platform is quoted:

“Adobe’s Chambers added Google’s Android OS was the platform of choice for future development, having become frustrated with Apple’s iPhone restrictions. “Personally, I am going to shift all of my mobile focus from iPhone to Android based devices (I am particularly interested in the Android based tablets coming out this year) and not focus on the iPhone stuff as much anymore.””

Note the reference to Android, a childish statement in my view. Is Adobe really going to focus all mobile development on a sector of the market that has little market share, is making little money for the developers involved and is fragmenting before our eyes?

Yes they are, because it’s the only game in town now. The only game that allows Adobe to carry on as normal with their development environment.

A development environment that started many years ago when they thought (as did most other people), that Apple was finished. Adobe decided then, that a development structure that referenced Windows and had Apple as a ‘semi-ported’ afterthought would suffice. And when Apple finally shut their doors, they could continue with Microsoft.

Well Adobe, that didn’t happen. What did happen is a decade-and-a-half of half assed, ‘just good enough’ ports that didn’t exploit Apple’s technologies and allowed them to wither on the vine.

Apple isn’t going to let that happen again, and with the new iPhone OS platform (which encompasses the iPad), they want to start as they mean to go on – in control of the developers, and therefore in control of their platform.

What will happen next? 

I assume Apple is hoping that, sooner or later, Adobe will go where the money is. At the moment it’s the iPhone/iPad AppStore. I say ‘at the moment’ because that may change. If the Android OS takes off, then Apple is stuck again with the same Apple vs Microsoft battle, only this time it’s Google instead of Microsoft.

If the Android platform gains traction, Adobe and others will migrate to that platform and Apple’s in trouble.

I’m worried because I always think of the future. 5-10 years from now, the mouse driven workstation will be dead. We’ll all be using touch-sensitive, 7″-30″ screens and pushing vectors & pixels with some serious, content-creation software.

Adobe InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver etc will all migrate, and if Apple doesn’t play this right, those screens won’t have an Apple logo on them.

It all depends on who blinks first. I understand why Apple wants to control the development environment, but they must think of the future.

Maybe Apple’s sick and tired of Adobe and is hoping that the a new ‘Adobe-killer’ company will come along, play ball with Apple of the ‘Touch’ platform and Adobe will be consigned to history.

I don’t see any new, up and coming companies though – so Apple, please think this through.



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